Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hayneedle - Experts


“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Not anymore. Hayneedle has done all the work for you.

Hayneedle is a new destination consisting of more than 200 online specialty stores that exist in a realm where floor space is irrelevant and freedom of choice is unlimited. The focus is product variety rather than the typical limited mass-merchant array of products. A universal shopping cart allows customers to purchase products from thousands of SKUs from all 200 stores at one domain name, http://www.hayneedle.com, making it simple to search, shop, and buy with confidence.

“Consumers’ freedom to choose has come under assault over the past several decades because traditional commerce has been significantly affected by cost-cutting and the bricks and mortar distribution channel,” says Carter Cast, Hayneedle’s President and CEO. “Hayneedle provides the missing link between style and self-expression, allowing consumers to customize their home with unique products that actually represent their personality—not the most common personality of every other consumer shopping at the local store.”

While the typical retailer currently offers approximately three storage benches, Hayneedle advertises 246. Need a hammock? Hayneedle provides over 100 in styles such as Brazilian, Mayan, Nicaraguan, poolside, and quilted. This virtually endless shelf space affords design, color, and style combinations ranging from 243 telescope items to thousands of possible living room furnishings.

The lack of product variety is a primary reason consumers are shopping more and more for home and lifestyle products online today, according to Ash ElDifrawi, Hayneedle’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“A survey of our customers showed that about 70 percent are not finding what they want at bricks and mortar retail stores,” says ElDifrawi. “We created Hayneedle as a wake-up call. Thank goodness people are rising up to say that one size does not fit all, and no two patios should look alike. We want consumers to buy what they love and love what they buy.”

With the limited choices offered at mass retail and home improvement stores, many consumers settle—dare we say reluctantly—on a green patio umbrella or a typical black bar stool. Larger retailers will offer anywhere from two to six options of each, on average. Hayneedle offers 87 umbrella choices and a whopping 949 bar stools.

“Consumers want choices, but they don’t want to waste hours traveling from store to store to get them,” says ElDifrawi. “We’re seeing a steady increase of online consumers who realize they can more readily find the style they want at a fraction of the time it takes to shop [at] bricks and mortar stores. The merchants that will win in the new retail environment are the ones that recognize consumers want price and convenience but are not willing to sacrifice their sense of style to get it.”

Style is something Hayneedle knows well. The company has a team of buyers and merchants who select each and every product.

“They’re obsessive about it,” says ElDifrawi, referring to the buying team. “It’s on their mind 24-7, so they find styles and designs to fit everything from eclectic to traditional to modern.”

The Hayneedle buying team uses a simple technique to determine versatile yet in-demand products and styles. Representatives from the company meet regularly to determine product lines and categories that are under-represented in the marketplace.

And when it comes to “not settling,” Hayneedle practices what it preaches.

“We’re inspired to keep searching and discovering unique products,” explains ElDifrawi. “It’s what we do and what our customers want. . . . And if you're ever in my neighborhood, stop in—just look for the fuchsia patio umbrella among the 28 green ones on the block.”

Looking for unique gift ideas for your kids this year? Hayneedle has those too. “We carry traditional, timeless toys such as rocking horses and dollhouses,” says a toy expert from Hayneedle. “These are the items parents and grandparents buy because they had one too. Play-kitchens and petal cars are great for imaginations and offer years of play.”

Have a hard-to-buy-for kid? Hayneedle suggests, “Personalized items are always great. . . . We have toy boxes, table and chair sets, and dollhouses that can all have a child’s name added for a unique, special gift. Hayneedle has a great selection of items kids won’t see in the stores.”

About Hayneedle

Hayneedle (http://www.hayneedle.com/), the leading online retailer in product variety, was originally established in 2002 as NetShops, Inc. with just three employees. NetShops, Inc. has been recognized by InternetRetailer.com and Inc. magazine as one of online retail’s fastest growing companies. In 2009, it changed its name to Hayneedle, recognizing an opportunity to develop multiple ecommerce niche stores. The privately held company is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and funded by Insight Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit www.hayneedleinc.com.

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